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A wooden serving spoon scooping out of a macaroni salad.
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5 from 7 votes

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for summer! Tender elbow macaroni is tossed in a creamy dressing and loaded with veggies and seasoning!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill Time2 hrs
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 383kcal




  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • ½ medium red onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 cucumber quartered and diced
  • ½ cup peas thaw if using frozen



  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper as well as the paprika, if using. Chill in the refrigerator while you cook the pasta and prep the veggies.
    2 cups mayonnaise, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 1½ teaspoons garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions, strain into a colander, and run cold water over the top of the pasta to prevent further cooking and to cool the pasta. Transfer to a large bowl with the veggies.
    16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • While the pasta is cooking, prep your vegetables and add them the large bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
    ½ medium red onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 large carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 cucumber, ½ cup peas
  • Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results. Serve cold.


  • Every brand of pasta is different and the kind you use could absorb more of the sauce than that kind I typically use, if you find your macaroni salad is a little dry after chilling, add an additional 1/3 cup of mayonnaise.
  • White vinegar may be used in place of red wine.
  • Other veggies may be used as well depending on your tastes. 
  • If you like eggs in your pasta salad, you can add 3 roughly diced hard-boiled eggs.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1230IU | Vitamin C: 14.7mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.7mg